global connections per hour
With 1.6 million enterprise end-users across 75 countries, New Zealand company SnapComms has been driven by global ambition since launching a decade ago. Now with a team of 50 employees, SnapComms is headquartered in Auckland and services industries such as healthcare, telecommunications, education and financial services.
SnapComms is a leading provider of internal communication software. It helps organisations get employee attention via a range of vibrant, visual tools. Its solution bypasses email, and encompasses a range of products, from intrusive, full-screen emergency alerts to more passive channels, such as tickers, screensavers, newsletters and more. As employee engagement becomes ever more important for organisations, demand for SnapComms’ services has created significant growth for the company.
With an application that runs both on-premises and in the cloud, SnapComms has adopted a cloud-first approach to new customer sales. On-premises equipment was prone to technical support problems over time, but focusing on a cloud-based architecture will allow the company to deliver a world-class service.
Delivering an application with the highest performance to a globally dispersed customer base
Back in 2012 – when SnapComms was just starting out – the options for high-performance, global cloud services were limited. The company’s first-generation solution was not fully prepared for deployment on a cloud platform, but it ran well on dedicated machines.
Tyrell Cooney, SnapComms’ General Manager for Technology, says the company’s workloads are quite different from most businesses, and the ‘hyperscaler’ clouds are geared more towards supporting instant loads.
“If you are expecting 10 million connections per hour you can pump up a cloud environment to meet that, but in our case we have those loads 365 days per year,” Cooney says.
“We needed grunt which was not available on AWS or Azure, but dedicated hardware could achieve our performance needs,” Cooney says. “The ability to do fast database lookups with raw CPU power is also a requirement and we have a lot of SSL (HTTPS) connections which demand high CPU and I/O to handle our incoming traffic.”
Adding to the challenge at the time was a number of SnapComms customers wanted to avoid hosting their data inside US territory.
“As an internal communications tool, we may hold some data that falls under the USA’s Patriot Act legislation. Understandably, some enterprises expressed their concerned about that,” Cooney says. “That’s why we are happy to offer hosting in Canada to all our European and American customers who may have these concerns.”
A global network of Dedicated Servers is handling high transaction volumes and enabling a more agile future
Rather than restrict their application to a virtualised cloud, SnapComms deployed a global cloud of Dedicated Servers with OVH. SnapComms’ global reach now spans Canada, the European Union, the UK, Australia and Singapore.
Cooney was pleased with how easy it was to get on board with OVH, which he says does not require a steep learning curve compared with other clouds.
“We enjoyed the ability to get a server within two minutes, or within an hour I can have a dedicated server up and running compared with other providers which typically take a few days," he says.
“We evaluate other clouds twice a year and we always go back to OVH as the variety of what we get for the money we pay is unbeatable. It’s not just the price, it’s the scalability we can achieve.”
Tyrell Cooney, General Manager, technology, SnapComms
“If you are in the Dedicated Server space you can scale as fast and as hard as you like, which is a real difference. I question if anyone can jump on other clouds and build an environment from scratch as quickly as we do.”
SnapComms is now seeing high demand from customers who want services deployed within a week, so the company must be agile with its operations to meet this stringent expectation.
“We can provide a complete dedicated environment within OVH,” Cooney says. “Some technologies like vRack are so easy to use. We utilise that on all dedicated and public servers across all environments.”
OVH’s vRack technology allows SnapComms to interconnect and isolate its mix of Dedicated Servers, Private Cloud, and Public Cloud. This delivers a secure, scalable global infrastructure that can be managed like a local network.
Lionel Legros, Director of Asia Pacific, OVH, says that through the OVH global infrastructure, SnapComms customers can benefit from high-performance, locally hosted messaging services that adhere to on-shore data regulations.
“Furthering their global ambition, the new OVH datacentre in Sydney allows SnapComms to extend the same performance and reliability to their ‘home’ customers in New Zealand and Australia,” Legros says.
An agile, flexible environment for rapid application delivery
OVH has enabled SnapComms to deliver its high-performance computing requirements across a global customer base and the future is one of continued innovation.
The company is managing more than 40 Dedicated Servers and 10 Public Cloud instances (totalling 30TB of storage) across seven international locations, with some 300,000 client connections every two minutes. Legros says SnapComms’ Dedicated Servers deliver the highest possible performance at a manageable cost, while their cloud infrastructure provides superior flexibility and scope for additional resources. This agility provides a platform for continuous innovation.
The company is now looking at big data, analytics and AI capabilities to enhance its customer intelligence and improve product development.
“Our cloud solution is still very monolithic,” Cooney says.“With 50,000 to 100,000 end-users per environment, we want to convert that into microservices dispersed across the globe so each application will be a module or piece of our network.”
By moving away from multiple monolithic environments, customers will be able to connect to regional microservices, which are then connected to a central database in the background.
“There will be a huge amount of work needed to develop the services and the OVH global network will be there and ready,” Cooney says.
“With Dedicated Servers, you can scale as fast and as hard as you like in a short time which is a real difference. I question if anyone can jump on other clouds and build an environment from scratch as quickly as we do.”
Tyrell Cooney, General Manager, Technology, SnapComms